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How businesses can prepare for inclement weather

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After last year, nobody in Massachusetts needs to be reminded just how disruptive winter weather can be. The Red Cross has some advice for businesses as they prepare for the coming winter. All business should prepare now to secure their data, operations, and most importantly, the safety of their employees.

Learn more about Red Cross disaster services in Massachusetts.

People

The most important thing for any business in inclement weather is keeping their employees safe. Businesses must be able to effectively communicate with every employee in all situations. Leaders should map out what the company needs to do in the event of inclement weather and have an established company communication plan. Decision makers should carefully watch the forecast and listen to local authorities and leaders for guidance on when to tell employees to stay home. When the decision is made, businesses need to clearly and immediately communicate office closures to all staff. Before a storm hits, companies should know what kind of notifications will be needed throughout the difficult weather. Employees can be reached via phone, text, email, or even a dedicated app. Business should continuously notify employees of any changes or developments. Companies should also relay relevant updates from weather services, police, and fire to their staffs.

Before the Storm

Inclement weather can strike at any time, and as we learned last year, storms can come in bunches. There are a series of questions business leaders should ask before inclement weather is in the forecast. Run down this a checklist and make sure you have all the answers before a storm hits:

Who are our essential on-site personnel?
What are our key business systems?
Which systems are mission critical?
How long can mission critical systems be offline before it’s a problem?
How will the business be immediately impacted by an outage?
Is our data center prepared for a disaster?
Do we have a disaster recovery plan?
Where is our disaster recovery site?
Has the hardware been prepared and checked recently?
How much time does it take to execute our disaster recovery plan?
How will day-to-day operations change for employees?
How can we prepare employees prior to a forced situation?
Will your employees have access to the building or need remote access?
How and when do you communicate operational changes?

After the Storm

After the weather has passed and everybody is safe, business can begin the process of returning to normal. Here are a few more questions business leaders should be thinking about ahead of time:

What does our entire recovery process look like?
How we failback our servers from the disaster recovery site?
How do we failback our users?
How will IT handle the masses of tickets and requests from users?
How can we reduce lag time and user frustration?
When should people come back to the office?
Are we still ready for the next storm?

To see if your business is prepared for even the harshest weather, visit readyrating.org to make sure your organization is safe and ready. The evaluation helps you think through the whole process and offers guidance on where your organization can improve in preparing for inclement weather.